Åldersdiskriminering och äldres hälsa – En litteraturstudie om upplevd och faktisk diskriminering på grund av ålder och kopplingen till äldres hälsa

Detta är en Kandidat-uppsats från Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för medicin

Sammanfattning: Introduction: The share of elderly people increases and the importance of working towards a healthy and active ageing, as well as opposing age-related discrimination become a priority both on a national and an international scale. It has been shown that the experienced discrimination has a negative effect on the physical and mental health. Knowledge gaps regarding age discrimination and the effect on health have been identified in previous literature reviews from the beginning of 2000s. Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate the current state of knowledge in age-related discrimination and its relation to the health of the elderly. Method: A literature-based study was carried out and a systematic search for scientific articles from 2000 onwards in the databases Scopus (April 2015) and PubMed (September 2015) was performed. Fourteen chosen articles had their quality reviewed and were analysed in order to identify the different findings. Result: There was a connection between the experienced age discrimination and the health of the elderly in terms of worse self-rated health and depression symptoms. Age discrimination is a mediating factor in the link between income differences and elderly people’s health. Furthermore self-perception of ageing can affect the degree of experienced age discrimination. Most of the studies investigated age-related discrimination in different areas within healthcare services and differed from each other in terms of result and strength. The studies found that elderly people’s health can be affected in terms of worse accessibility, availability and quality within healthcare services. The results also showed that the elderly are excluded of medical research by arbitrary upper age limits. The experienced age discrimination was related to education level, household income and gender. Discussion: It was shown in the present literature study a relation between the experience age discrimination and the elderly’s self-rated health and depression symptoms. Measurement methods for the experienced age discrimination and self-perceived health are problematic since the risk of memory failure, disturbing factors and under- and over-reporting can affect studies’ results. Age discrimination of the elderly in accessibility, availability and quality within healthcare services might not directly indicate something on the effect of elderly’s health. The fact that most of the results in this literature study are based on cross-sectional studies complicates the findings’ generalization. Conclusion: The state of knowledge regarding age-related discrimination and its relation to the elderly’s health is still insufficient. Further studies with higher probative value are needed on this topic in order to get a clearer picture of age discrimination’s connection to the health of the elderly.

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